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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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He is a bad novelist and a fool. The combination usually makes for great popularity in the US.
--
Gore Vidal, Views from a Window: Conversations with Gore Vidal, ed. R.J. Staton (1980)

 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Jane Austen? I feel that I am approaching dangerous ground. The reputation of Jane Austen is surrounded by cohorts of defenders who are ready to do murder for their sacred cause. They are nearly all fanatics. They will not listen. If anyone “went for” Jane, anything might happen to him. He would assuredly be called on to resign from his clubs...I do not even agree that Jane was a great novelist. She was a great little novelist. She is marvellous, intoxicating: she has unique wit, vast quantities of common sense, a most agreeable sense of proportion, much narrative skill. And she is always readable. But her world is a tiny world, and even of that tiny world she ignores, consciously or unconsciously, the fundamental factors. She did not know enough of the world to be a great novelist. She had not the ambition to be a great novelist. She knew her place; her present “fans” do not know her place, and their antics would without doubt have excited Jane’s lethal irony.

 
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Sigmund Freud was a novelist with a scientific background. He just didn’t know he was a novelist. All those damn psychiatrists after him, they didn’t know he was a novelist either.

 
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I’m not trying to frighten you, but only a fool makes predictions based on ignorance; I am not that sort of fool.

 
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Robin Day: How low does your personal popularity have to go before you consider yourself a liability to the party you lead?
Edward Heath: Popularity isn't everything.

 
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My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world, and exiles me from it.

 
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